Improvements coming to Distance Learning Enlisted PME

  • Published
  • By Bo Joyner
  • Headquarter Air Force Reserve Command

Beginning this summer, Citizen Airmen taking Professional Military Education distance learning courses will see some major improvements, including closer interactions with facilitators, a revised capstone project and more feedback on test performance.

Earlier this year, the Global College of Professional Military Education announced the launch of the next iteration of the Airman Leadership School Distance Learning program: ALS DL 2.0.

Chief Master Sergeant Israel Nuñez, the Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Chief of the Air Force Reserve and the Command Chief for Air Force Reserve Command, is extremely excited about the changes coming to the distance learning program.

“This revamped program will provide a better opportunity for Airmen to apply concepts in a peer-to-peer learning environment, directly engaging with classmates while receiving more focused feedback from an instructor,” he said.

“We heard our members’ concerns and we fought to get them the experience they were looking for,” Nuñez said, adding that the changes are coming after a hard-fought collaborative effort between senior enlisted leaders from AFRC, the Air National Guard, Air Education and Training Command and the Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force.

Enlisted Airmen take PME classes at various milestones in their military career. Senior Airmen complete Airman Leadership School before they promote to staff sergeant; technical sergeants take the Noncommissioned Officer Academy before promoting into the senior NCO corps; and master sergeants complete the Senior NCO Academy before assuming higher levels of responsibility.

Since most Reservists are unable to attend PME in-residence, they rely on the distance learning PME courses, similar to many online college classes, to meet this requirement.

The changes coming with ALS DL 2.0 are designed to bring distance learning PME up to the same quality as the in-residence courses.

The major changes expected with ALS DL 2.0 include:

  • Removal of high-stakes multiple choice testing. Students will now receive feedback on incorrect test answers with references to applicable material. After reviewing the curriculum, students will be allowed to reattempt the test to demonstrate proficiency.
  • Increased instructor facilitation in the capstone. Weekly threaded discussion question forums between students and instructors will facilitate dialogue to increase understanding. Additionally, the final capstone project will now be an individual product, as opposed to the current group projects.
  • The ALS DL 2.0 program will increase from 60 to 85 student contact hours. This increase in instructor/student engagement facilitates a more robust curriculum and. enables students to reach a higher learning level within the program outcomes.

The ALS DL 2.0 program is scheduled for a staggered launch, starting with the new self-paced course launching in the summer of 2024. Program completion times will remain unchanged within ALS DL 2.0. Students will have 12 months from the program enrollment date to complete the course, with the possibility of a six-month extension.

While the details are still being finalized, students in the NCO Academy and Senior NCO Academy distance learning courses can expect similar changes in their courses this fall and winter.

“I’m confident the changes coming to distance learning enlisted PME will help us meet our goals of Ready Now and Transforming for the Future and better prepare Airmen for Great Power Competition,” Nuñez said. “Improvements to the program will help cultivate and enhance the leadership, supervision and warfighting knowledge of the Reserve enlisted force.”